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Japanese ex-astronaut visits ITER

-Sabina Griffith

 (Click to view larger version...)
Fusion is the energy that powers the sun and the stars. And he has been closer to the centre of our solar system than any other fusion scientist, 300 kilometers to be precise: The Japanese Astronaut Mamoru Mohri.

Born in Yoichi, Hokkaido, Japan, Mamoru Mohri dreamed of becoming an astronaut ever since seeing Russian Yuri Gagarin setting off into space on 12 April 1961. Mohri was 13 then, and a big fan of the famous cartoon "Atomic Boy". At the age of 21 Mohri saw the first man walk on the moon and that was when he decided to become an astronaut, "to get closer to the sun".

But before he finally did so as a payload specialist in 1992 and again in 2000, logging more than 459 hours in space on board of the International Space Station (ISS), Mamoru Mohri studied the physics that actually powers the sun: nuclear fusion. He received his degree from Flinders University in South Australia, later he became an exchange scientist under the U.S./Japan Nuclear Fusion Collaboration Program.

After a tour around Tore Supra and the ITER site, Mamoru Mohri last week took the chance to address the members of the STAC meeting while they were having lunch at the Chateau. "It is astounding what humans can do when they work together," Mohri said. "I know that you will astound the world."


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